Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from the squads of Liverpool and Chelsea ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash between the two sides.
Both teams have some momentum on their side heading into the heavyweight tussle, as the Reds have won six matches in a row and the Blues are on a four-match winning streak.
There is no doubt that Liverpool have had the better season of the two sides, boasting 16 points more than their opponents, but how many of Chelsea’s players would make it into Jurgen Klopp‘s side?
With that question in mind, Sports Mole has selected a combined XI from both squads, using only players available for Sunday afternoon’s clash.
The world’s two most expensive goalkeepers come face to face on Sunday. Kepa Arrizabalaga joined Chelsea for £71m last August, a few wees after Liverpool splashed out £67m to sign Alisson Becker, who has had the better season of the two, which is reflected in the stats – 17 clean sheets compared to 12 in the Premier League.
A lot of that is down to Liverpool’s superior defenders, none more so than Virgil van Dijk. The Dutch centre-back has lived up to his reputation as being the world’s costliest defender, helping to get the best out of the likes of Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez alongside him. Gomez was superb for the Reds in the first half of the season but has not featured since December, whereas Antonio Rudiger has looked solid for Chelsea throughout an up-and-down campaign for the club.
At full-back Cesar Azpilicueta has so often been a regular pick in these sides, but he has been off the boil for a while now and has been overtaken by Trent Alexander-Arnold. The same is true on the opposite flank, where Andrew Robertson is able to mix defending with attacking, unlike opposite number Marcos Alonso.
We have gone with a 4-2-3-1 formation for this side to shoehorn in as many attacking talents at possible. N’Golo Kante quite simply has to be included as one of the holding midfielders, even if he has been used in a right-of-centre position by Maurizio Sarri this season, and Fabinho has also thrived for Liverpool this term, especially when the going has got tough. Both teams possess plenty of options in this area of the field, including the likes of Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, but the formation best suits Kante and Jorginho.
Further forward, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are also selected, despite having their critics this season. Both men have played a pivotal part in Liverpool’s charge for two major honours by contributing directly to a combined 51 Premier League and Champions League goals, while Sadio Mane alongside them has really stepped up since the turn of the year and has arguably been his side’s best performer. That leaves one spot up for grabs, and it is no surprise that Eden Hazard is selected over the likes of Willian, Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi, with his double against West Ham United making this his best ever campaign in front of goal.
How Liverpool could line up against Chelsea